Annual Campus Week of Dialogue focuses on global human rights

Poster campaign on unspoken bias begins Oct. 5

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Amanda Kelley

‘Truth glasses’ will be needed to read the underlying messages of the posters promoting the annual Campus Week of Dialogue. This year’s theme is Intolerance Can Be Hard to Recognize, and the posters describe subtle bias individuals might have toward those of different races, genders, spiritual paths or orientations.

RIT’s annual Campus Week of Dialogue begins with a poster campaign about how “Intolerance Can Be Hard to Recognize.” The campaign will lead up to the actual week of featured programming on global human and civil rights that takes place Oct. 26—30.

“The poster campaign, opening publicly Oct. 5, is designed to be a campus-wide, interactive event,” says Amanda Kelley, member of the President’s Commission on Pluralism and Inclusion and associate director, Student Auxiliary Services. “It was developed to expose the internal biases that individuals may have, despite their outward acceptance of diversity.

Posters have been put up in residential and academic buildings on campus. The main images in the posters hide subtle messages that can only be read with ‘truth glasses,’ Kelley explained. Truth glasses are made with a filtered lens that allows the background message to show through on the original picture when viewed.

The poster campaign conceptualizes a person’s inner thoughts through use of hidden messages within a seemingly normal photo. For example, in one poster, there is a picture of a young man with a voting button pinned to his lapel. The alternate view is the underlying statement, “I could never vote for someone of your faith.”

The poster campaign is part of the larger Campus Week of Dialogue sponsored by the President’s Commission on Pluralism and Inclusion. The Commission presents current topics related to diversity. This year the organization will focus on human rights, specifically about how often individuals state politically correct comments regarding race, gender or culture, for example, yet, still retain stereotypical images.

Truth glasses will be available in select Reporter magazines on Oct. 2 and will be available on Oct. 6 in the lobby areas of the Grace Watson Building, Student Development Center at NTID, the Wallace Center and the Student Alumni Union.

The posters were designed by RIT graduate Barret Furton, currently art director, RIT Student Auxiliary Services. An example of the posters can be seen on the Diversity Web site, but to see the underlying messages truth glasses will be needed.

More information about the poster campaign and the entire week of events for the Campus Week of Dialogue can be found at the Diversity Web site. The 2009 Campus Week of Dialogue is being co-sponsored by the Commission as well as The Centers for Residence Life and Campus Life, the GLBT Center, the Study Abroad Program and RIT student club, OUTspoken.